Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site

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The UK National Commission for UNESCO’s case studies are a series of studies that focus on specific interactions between UNESCO’s programmes, designations and objectives and the UK

Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site: Economic Analysis of Financial Worth


This case study is part of the 2020 Nation Value of UNESCO to the UK Report.

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Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site helped to generate £484.26 million for Northern Ireland Causeway Coast and Glens Region in 2017.

With increasing levels of visitor numbers to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in recent years, Ulster University undertook a study in 2019 aiming to measure the economic contribution and social impact of the UNESCO designation as a major tourist attraction. The survey includes an analysis of the Site’s economic contribution (GVA), its social impact to the region, such as benefits to residents and civic pride, and the potential impacts and risks associated with rapidly growing tourism numbers.

It found that the UNESCO accolade has significantly ‘fuelled the Causeway’s tourism popularity’ and had ‘a strong positive impact for the region’ but has also presented ‘potential challenges and threats’ in terms of over-tourism.

“We are proud to be one of the main employers along the North Coast – we employ 75 full-time staff, and this figure increases significantly during peak season. We contribute over £3.5 million in wages to local people and remain committed to working closely with the community – in fact 80% of the craft for sale in the Visitor Centre is produced locally or within the island of Ireland.”

Max Bryant, General Manager at the National Trust, responsible for the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

This case study was a part of the 2020 National Value of UNESCO to the UK Report 

ISSN 2050-8212 (Print)

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme

The National Value Report seeks to capture the economic and wider intangible value of the UK network of UNESCO designations. It finds that the network is adding significant value to our economy and society and recommends how this value can be enhanced.

The National Value of UNESCO Designations to the United Kingdom Report shows how UNESCO is bringing sites, people and communities together, and creating and delivering value for the United Kingdom. It finds that the vibrant network of UNESCO sites in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are contributing in three main areas: they contribute financial value, they make a rich and creative contribution to the UK’s environment, culture and communities and contribute to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme Case Studies

The case studies that form this series illustrate these benefits to the UK that are contributed by the vibrant Network of UK UNESCO sites as found by the National Value Report; featuring financial value, academic research, environmentalism and climate change, promotion and preservation of culture, education and more.


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